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Photographer to watch: Jimmy Kets

From Kets’ “USA” series. Click through for more images.

Belgium-based photographer Jimmy Kets actually started out studying graphic design, but turned to photography immediately after finishing school, traveling first to Kathmandu and then all over the world. In his 10-year-long career, Kets has won the Nikon Promising Young Photographer Award in 2006 and 2008, the SABAM (Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) Award for the Best Humoristic Press Photo in 2006 and 2007, as well as a host of others. It’s easy to see why. Kets tends to gravitate towards artificial environments like zoos, theme parks and resorts – places that lend themselves very easily to humorous outtakes and practically beg for outsider commentary.

Even though Kets’ photographs are extremely bright, that combination of humor and outsider commentary/judgment often renders them more than just a little depressing. His “USA” series, for example, is basically a portrait of American obesity, and his portraits of women are even less flattering. When he’s not shooting porn stars at erotic conventions, he finds ways to compromise the sexuality of everyday women like the photograph of two women in Taiwan taken through the reflection of a trash can, or a woman in tight pants conveniently posed beside a sign that reads “Please Enter Here.” Is it juvenile humor or a low opinion of the opposite sex? It’s not easy to say since no single group seems to escape his camera’s scathing lens. His latest series, “Brightside/Shot in Flanders,” (images below) is currently on view at De Brakke Grond gallery in Amsterdam. The last photograph (below), the dreary gray backside of a carnival sign that reads “Big Fun,” pretty much says it all.

From “Brightside/Shot in Flanders”

From “Brightside/Shot in Flanders”

From “Brightside/Shot in Flanders”